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Are You Sitting Comfortably?

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If you’ve ever sat in front of the telly watching something that interests you but doesn’t require all your concentration, you’ll probably know what I mean by ‘comfort computing’.

You’ll have felt your brain coddle like an egg as you sit there, and you’ll have wished you could be planning that holiday or finding out when that movie is on, or looking at your friend’s wedding photos or checking out recipes for ‘winter warmers’ or, well, you get the idea.

The strategies for comfort computing as things stand at the moment could involve any of the following:

Leave the TV alone, and go and sit at your computer desk. Hardly ideal, as it completely defeats the multitasking point – unless you have a TV card in your PC of course, in which case you can pop the programme into one corner of the screen and do your “thang” with the computer as the priority technology. That’s quite a neat solution, but in my experience, it’s not very comfortable and certainly doesn’t deliver the ‘sitting in the front room relaxed’ kind of thing I am looking for.

If you own a laptop, give it an outing into the front room. This probably means giving up on the lounging and slouching in favour of sitting up straight, and suffering a bit from the weight of your laptop on the knees, the processor heat and the odd posture that simultaneous laptop use and TV viewing requires. I have one of those trays with fold out legs that I use for this purpose from time to time. It lifts the laptop off my knees, and puts it in a slightly more ergonomic position. But it’s still not quite what I am looking for.

Get out your Tablet PC – if you are one of the few people who have one of these. This is, when you first think about it a neat solution, as you can swivel the screen round to hide the keyboard, and then lounge on your sofa or in your chair, holding the Tablet PC as you would a book, prodding at its screen with its stylus to surf away as you choose.

My experience of doing this in practice isn’t quite so soft-focussed gorgeous as the theory, though. First off, I don’t know a Tablet PC that is as light to hold in one hand as a paperback book. My arm starts to flag after a while, and then I have to shift around to find a position where I can rest the Tablet PC without having to hold it – and invariably comfort suffers.

Also I drop the stylus down the sides of the sofa, and as I can’t prod the screen without it, I need to go a-huntin’. I might come out of the foraging experience a little richer, and having found, along with some cash, a few bits and bobs I’d thought were lost for ever, but I’m now tetchy and I’ve missed my TV programme. (Yes, I know there are some passive-screened Tablet PCs around nowadays that respond to finger prodding, but I don’t happen to have one of these at the moment).

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